The National Sea Grant Law Center

Advisory Service

The Sea Grant Law Center Advisory Service is a legal research service provided free of charge to the Sea Grant College Program and its constituents. The Law Center is prohibited from providing legal advice or becoming involved in litigation. The information provided by Law Center attorneys is intended for informational purposes only. Organizations requesting legal information should always seek independent, professional legal advice prior to taking action.

The final products of Law Center Advisory Requests are available for download by browsing the list, arranged topically, below.




  • Abandoned Vessels Admiralty Law Aquaculture Aquatic Species Antifouling Paint Ballast Water Beach Issues Coast Guard Great Lakes Safety Zones Coastal Development Coastal Environments and Resources Coral Reef Conservation Endangered Species Fisheries Management Floating Homes Integrated Ocean Observing Systems Interstate Conflicts Invasive Species Land Use Planning Marine Debris Miscellaneous Non-profit Organizations Ocean and Coastal Statutes Personal Liability Personal Watercraft Public Access Public Trust Rip Current Warnings Seafood Marketing and Labeling Submerged Lands Water Quality Trading Watershed Working Waterfronts



  • Abandoned Vessels
  • Sept. 2009  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • A request from the NOAA Marine Debris program Coordinator for summaries of state laws and regulations addressing abandoned vessels.


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  • Admiralty Law
  • Feb. 2008  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • Question about the application of salvage law to equipment and fishing gear abandoned on Lake Eire by fishermen stranded on ice which has broken free.


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  • Aquaculture
  • June 2014  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • Offshore Finfish Culture Operations
  • Oct. 2012  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel | Download Request
  • Questions about injury compensation for aquaculture employees.
  • Apr. 2012  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel | Download Request
  • Questions from NOAA Aquaculture regarding permitting of mussel culture operations in offshore federal waters.
  • Nov. 2011  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel | Download Request
  • Regulation of the culture of fishes in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana.
  • Apr. 2011  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel | Download Request
  • Analysis of Aquaculture fees covering administration of Aquaculture Program for California Sea Grant Extension office.
  • Jan. 2010  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel | Download Request
  • Questions from NOAA Aquaculture regarding aquaculture enclosures designed to motor and drift.
  • Jan. 2010  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel | Download Request
  • Questions from NOAA Aquaculture regarding the legal implications of defining offshore aquaculture as agriculture.
  • June 2009  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • Questions on the territorial limits of federal law in federal waters posed by NOAA's Aquaculture Program.
  • Aug. 2008  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • Questions posed by Sea Grant Extension Service, University of California at Davis regarding Hubbs-SeaWorld's Research Institute's plans to farm striped sea bass in net-pens moored in federal waters.
  • Aug. 2008  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • Aquaculture facilities in federal waters
  • May 2004  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • Would California Assembly Bill 1805, introduced by Assembly Member Lloyd Levine, seeking to ban the possession, purchase or sale of farm-raised salmon in California to protect the marine environment and the health of California consumers, survive a court challenge if passed?


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  • Aquatic Species
  • May 2004  |  by Josh Clemons, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Question 1: Can Minnesota legally ban the importation of minnows?

  • Question 2: Can Minnesota require persons traveling through the state to obtain permits?

  • Question 3: Can Minnesota charge non-residents more than residents to transport baitfish through the state or to export baitfish?

  • Question 4: May Wisconsin legally impose a reciprocal importation ban on Minnesota baitfish, while continuing to allow baitfish importation from other states?


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  • Antifouling Paint
  • Oct. 2004  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director; and Jason Savarese, Research Counsel | Download Request
  • White paper: Restrictions on the Use of Marine Antifouling Paints Containing Tributyltin and Copper (updated Aug. 2005)

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  • Ballast Water
  • Feb. 2014  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • Ballast Water Legal Framework: 2014 Update
  • July 2012  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • Re: Technology-Based and Water Quality-Based Effluent Limitations
  • Oct. 2007  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director | Download Request
  • Minnesota Sea Grant extension agent commissioned a white paper to facilitate a dialogue regarding the potential impact on states of a new EPA regulatory program for vessel discharges.
  • Oct. 2006  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director   |  Download Request
  • White paper discussing challenges to Michigan's new Ballast Water Laws.


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  • Beach Issues
  • Feb. 2014  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Maine Supreme Court Ruling in Almeder v. Kennebunkport (updated March 2014)
  • May 2013  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Re: Maine Tidal Inundation
  • Apr. 2013  |  by Catherine Janasie, Ocean and Coastal Law Fellow  |  Download Request
  • Re: Effect of Hurricane Sandy on coastal property lines in New Jersey
  • Dec. 2012  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Re: Effect of Hurricane Sandy on coastal property lines in New York
  • July 2008  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel   |  Download Request
  • Rebuilding of Non-Grandfathered Coastal Structures in Georgia
  • July 2007  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • State Policy for removal of structures from active beach


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  • Coast Guard Great Lakes Safety Zones
  • Oct. 2006  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • What military exemptions from environmental laws are applicable to the Coast Guard's establishment of safety zones in the Great Lakes?


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  • Coastal Development
  • Sep. 2016  |  by Terra Bowling, Sr. Research Counsel |  Download Request
  • Re: IGLD in Great Lakes States
  • Oct. 2012  |  by Catherine Janasie, Ocean and Coastal Law Fellow  |  Download Request
  • Comparison of Oregon and Texas Federal Consistency Rules.
  • July 2011  |  by Nick Lund, Ocean and Coastal Fellow  |  Download Request
  • The Texas General Lands Office sought the assistance of The National Sea Grant Law Center (via an email to NOAA Ocean and Coastal Resource Management) to outline the state's process for Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency review.
  • July 2010  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Summary of state laws and regulations mandating sanitary facilities at Marinas requested by Virginia Sea Grant Marine Extension Program on behalf of the National Clean Marina Committee.
  • Feb. 2009  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Restoration and Remedial Options for Lexington Harbor in Michigan
  • Feb. 2009  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve requested information on which states have statutory or regulatory definitions of “community docks.”


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  • Coastal Environments and Resources
  • Sept. 2012  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • To raise awareness of heirs' property and assist residents in an heirs' property situation, the MPPDC partnered with the National Sea Grant Law Center to conduct legal research on heirs' property ownership, the methods of clearing title to heirs' property, and possible options for MPPDC to pursue to remedy failing septic systems on heirs' property.
  • June 2011  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Local Government and Water Quality Regulation Analysis done for the Middle peninsula Planning District Commission.
  • July 2010  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Converting the Erie Pier Confined Disposal Facility to a Processing and Reuse Facility: Is an Interstate Compact a Necessary Component?
  • Aug. 2008  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Legal Protections for Coastal Environments and Resources in Michigan.


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  • Coral Reef Conservation
  • Aug. 2009  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Coral reef protection laws.


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  • Endangered Species
  • Oct. 2010  |  by Nicholas Lund, Ocean and Coastal Law Fellow  |  Download Request
  • Request from the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife regarding the process of listing the native blue mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis, on the lists of endangered or threatened species as required under the Endangered Species Act.


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  • Fisheries Management
  • June 2012  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Re: Scientific and Statistical Committee Review Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act
  • Apr. 2012  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Re: Rules Related to Fish Venting
  • Dec. 2008  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Re: State Agency Immunity from Federal Antitrust Laws
  • May 2004  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Are there any legal barriers which would prevent commercial fishermen from taking tourists on their boats?


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  • Floating Homes
  • Oct. 2009  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • This is an analysis of law and policy of floating homes prepared at the request of the VA Director of Regional Planning.


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  • Integrated Ocean Observing Systems
  • Jan. 2008  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Basic information about Incorporation and Conflict of Interest Policies prepared for the Northeast Regional Association.
  • July 2004  |  by Josh Clemons, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Can federal agencies participate in groups that lobby Congress? Can federal agencies be members of a 501(c)(3) organization?
  • May 2004  |  by Josh Clemons, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • What is the potential liability of Sea Grant from publication of Ocean Observing System (OOS) date on the web?


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  • Interstate Conflicts
  • Apr. 2007  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Michigan Sea Grant extension agent sought our analysis of a Wisconsin law that requires out-of-state fish wholesalers to purchase a state license.


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  • Invasive Species
  • July 2014  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Fact sheet developed for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant on purchasing aquatic plants and fish.
  • July 2014  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Fact sheet developed for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant on selling aquatic plants and fish.
  • July 2014  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Fact sheet developed for Michigan Sea Grant on purchasing aquatic plants and fish.
  • July 2014  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Fact sheet developed for Michigan Sea Grant on selling aquatic plants and fish.
  • Aug. 2011  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Michigan Sea Grant inquires whether invasive species are considered pollutants under the Clean Water Act.
  • July 2009  |  by Brian Fredieu, Pres. Mgmt. Fellow on Dev. Assignment with NSGLC  |  Download Request
  • Question on the Great Lake States' Prohibition on Release of GMOs.
  • Apr. 2008  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • An Illinois/Indiana Sea Grant extension agent commissioned a white paper to facilitate a Advisory request on illegal stocking of fish.
  • Sept. 2004 |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director; and Jason Savarese, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • White paper discussing the existing U.S. legal regime to prevent the hull transport of Aquatic Invasive Species.
    (updated Aug. 2005)


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  • Land Use Planning
  • May 2008  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director; and Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • The Terrapin Run Decision: Are comprehensive plans binding?


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  • Marine Debris
  • Mar. 2011  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Compilation of statutory and regulatory derelict fishing gear provisions for the lobster fisheries in the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut requested by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.
  • June 2007  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director; and Josh Clemons, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • An individual with the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism sought information about the contract and liability issues surrounding the development of a reward program for recovery of derelict fishing gear.
  • Jan. 2007  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director
  • Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act Signed into Law  |  Download Request

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  • Miscellaneous
  • July 2016  |  by Catherine Janasie, Research Counsel   |  Download Request
  • Re: Potential Liability of Howard County under its MS4 Permit for Homeowner BMPs
  • Nov. 2013  |  by Catherine Janasie, Ocean and Coastal Law Fellow  |  Download Request
  • Re: Stormwater Liability in Maryland
  • Dec. 2010  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Questions on the many facets of the Marcellus Shale Drilling in Pennsylvania were submitted by the Pennsylvania Sea Grant, and resulted in a comprehensive Citizen's Guide to Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.
  • Nov. 2010  |  by Nick Lund, Ocean and Coastal Law Fellow  |  Download Request
  • Questions on how the AIWW (Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway) would work, posed by the Intracoastal Waterway Association and Virginia Sea Grant.
  • July 2008  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Seafood Liability Issues for Charter Boat Captains
  • 2007  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • The Sea Grant Association requested background research on the Coburn Amendment, an addition to a spending bill which would prohibit the use of NOAA funds for certain meetings.
  • 2007  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • The Seamen's Church Institute requested assistance with background research on the rights of crew members detained during federal environmental investigations.


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  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Nov. 2008 |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Question about Sea Grant Directors writing letters to Congress urging support of Sea Grant reauthorization bills.
  • Sept. 2007  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • This memo provides information on the basis legal requirements of 501(c)(5) agricultural organizations.
  • June 2007 |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • The Wild American Shrimp, Inc. requested information on lobbying restrictions and 501(c)(3) organizations and recipients of federal funds.


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  • Ocean and Coastal Statutes
  • July 2006 |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Which key statues are due for reauthorization?


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  • Personal Liability
  • Sep. 2016 |  by Terra Bowling, Sr. Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Re: Emergency Trespass on Water Trails
  • Dec. 2014 |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Re: Water Trail Liability
  • Jan. 2014 |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Re: Rescue Station Liability
  • Oct. 2009 |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Analysis of liability associated with a local government's installation of rescue stations at public beaches, requested by the University of Minnesota Sea Grant program.
  • 2007  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • A Hawaii Coastal Clean-up Coordinator requested information regarding the liability of volunteers and coordinating organizations during beach clean-up activities.
  • Mar. 2004  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • What is the potential liability of shellfish farmers in Massachusetts for personal injury and animal entanglement?


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  • Personal Watercraft
  • Dec. 2006 |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Did the Hawaii Sea Grant draft the appropriate disclaimer language for Hawaii Safety Program K-6 Workbook and Teacher's Manual?
  • May 2004  |  by Josh Clemons, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • What arguments were put forth by the parties in the litigation over the National Park Service’s regulation of personal watercraft (e.g., Jet Skis, Sea-Doos) in areas the Service administers, including Gulf Islands National Seashore?


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  • Public Access
  • July 2015  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • An Overview of Coastal Rights in Texas
  • Apr. 2008  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Questions from New Jersey Sea Grant on New Jersey's new public access regulations and their impact on marinas.


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  • Public Trust
  • 2004  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • White paper on Ohio House Bill 218


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  • Rip Current Warnings
  • June 2014  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Re: Rip current warning sign liability update
  • Jan. 2007  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director; and Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Delaware Sea Grant sought information about the liability issues surrounding the posting of rip current warning signs on Delaware public beaches.
  • June 2004  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director  |  Download Request
  • Will placing rip current warning signs at public beaches increase a city's liability risk?


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  • Seafood Marketing and Labeling
  • Nov. 2010  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • The following advisory opinion addresses a question from an Aquatic Invasives Specialist at Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant on acquiring a market name for the Bighead and Silver Carp.
  • 2010  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • The following advisory opinion addresses a question from VIMS Marine Advisory Services on whether groups, such as Seafood Watch, expose themselves to liability by publishing or listing out-of-date strictures on 'seafoods to avoid."


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  • Submerged Lands
  • May 2009  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • A constituent of VIMS was concerned about a possible inequity in fees for state-owned submerged land in Virginia when compared to other states.


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  • Water Quality Trading
  • Dec. 2007  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director; and Sarah Spigener, SGLC Legal Intern  |  Download Request
  • Pennsylvania’s Nutrient Trading Program: Legal Issues and Challenges


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  • Watershed
  • Oct. 2010  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • The CESU Network requested an advisory regarding cooperative agreement authority, specifically the authority of agencies in the CESU Network to enter into cooperative agreements with regard to environmental, natural and cultural heritage resources.


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  • Working Waterfronts
  • July 2013  |  by Catherine Janasie, Ocean and Coastal Law Fellow  |  Download Request
  • Re: The Commercial Use of Docks on Small Tidal Creeks in Beaufort County, SC
  • June 2013  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director; and Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Incentivizing the Use of Living Shorelines in Virginia through a Revolving Loan Fund
  • Oct. 2012  |  by Terra Bowling, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • Re: Working Waterfront Legislation
  • Nov. 2005  |  by Stephanie Showalter, Director; and Jason Savarese, Research Counsel  |  Download Request
  • What are the ramifications of the Working Waterfront Preservation Act of 2005, particularly in relationship to North Carolina efforts to preserve Working Waterfronts?


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Submit an Advisory Request

To submit an advisory request or to request additional information, please contact
Stephanie Otts, Director of the National Sea Grant Law Center, at:

National Sea Grant Law Center
University of Mississippi
Kinard Hall, Wing E - Room 256
University, MS 38677
662-915-7714
662-915-5267 (fax)
sshowalt@olemiss.edu

Advisory Service Guidelines

This guide is to assist organizations on how to properly request advisory services.

Download Guidelines